When scandals like Cambridge Analytica break, the focus is always on the individual, with those affected asking themselves, “how can I protect my data?” This is appealing but a mistake. We are more impacted by other people’s data than we are by our own. One person’s data isn’t valuable. What makes data valuable is how it’s networked with that of others, allowing us to see patterns and make predictions about people’s behavior. Faced with this, all of the policy tools we’ve thrown at the problem focus on building walled gardens around “our” data. How do we control our digital doppelgänger without falling for the “ownyourdata” delusion? Our power comes from the groups we belong to. Let’s reclaim that power: our collective rights to data.
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